Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

Wolfie the Wonder Horse!
Wolfie, 24/02/08

Sunday, 25 January 2009

He jumps!

Wolfie had a visit from the dentist last week. Just his routine ten month check up, but he's been shedding his caps so I was anxious to get his mouth checked and make sure everything was ok. Since November last year, I've been finding the odd tooth in his feed bucket, which initially was quite disconcerting! He got rasped to get rid of the sharp edges and the dentist said he was fine, just an uncomfortable time for him. Four of his incisors are coming through at the front, so he looks a bit gumsy! It doesn't stop him eating though. I haven't ridden in a bit for ages now, and have been riding in the dually halter. I used to alternate riding between the two, but found in the dually halter he was much softer through his back and neck and willing to stretch. With the bit in he tends to tuck his head in and concentrate on chewing on it. To be fair he hasn't done that much work with the bit in, but I will be waiting until his mouth is well and truely settled before starting again with it.

Due to the weather again, I haven't been able to do much. I have been wanting to introduce more ground work alongside riding. Yesterday the sun was out, the surface in the school was good. I worked him on the long reins in walk, I then lunged him on both reins, letting him get rid of some excess energy and worked on lots of transitions. I always lunge with two lines from the dually halter. Once he'd worked off a bit of steam he produced some really lovely trot work. It always amazes me how long his stride is for his size, he really covers the ground. I let him off the lines and let him walk around and stretch down. I put out a pole and he was walking and trotting over it. I brought out another pole and made the tiniest of crosspoles. He trotted around towards it, ears pricked, took off about one and a half strides away and absolutely ballooned over it. He must have cleared at least 3ft 6" over it. He then took off at the other side bucking and squealing. I expected him to stop, but no he came back around again in canter and launched himself over it again, he obviously thought this was great fun. I have seen him jumping the stream in the field and he always makes a lovely shape over it. I haven't really considered jumping, probably because my aims at the moment are straightness and to establish him in all three paces and jumping just seemed like something that we would do much later. I have to be very careful not to bore him with the schooling, so introducing a little pole work every now and then for a change may be beneficial. To be honest I was surprised at his ability. I don't know why though, he's a compact, powerful little horse. Maybe it was because he's not the tallest, but then didn't a 15hh horse win Badminton in 1968 ;-). I have never been that keen on show jumping and always preferred cross country, watching Wolfie yesterday I felt a bit of anticipation and excitement at the thought of jumping him.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

There's somebody under the tarpaulin!

Over the last year I have become really interested in Le Trec. Until recently there was nobody locally in my area that held Le Trec events. However, that has now changed and a woman has began holding training sessions and a BHS Le Trec competition is to be held at our local RDA in January. Le Trec consists of 3 phases. Control of gaits, navigating obstacles and usually a ten mile hack with a map. We are hoping to hold a training session at the yard which I am very excited about . As it is a training session I can ride or attempt the obstacles in hand. I think it will be beneficial for Wolfie and will also give us an idea of what is involved and give me ideas for things to work on.

In preparation, I decided to get a piece of tarpaulin out and folded it up into a fairly large square and placed it in the school. I brought Wolfie into the school, let him off his rope and we walked over to the tarpaulin. We stood at the edge of it with him snorting. The wind caught the edge of the tarpaulin making it rustle. It didn't flap around, just gently moved and made a noise. Wolfie reared straight up vertically and was pawing the air in a style the black stallion would have been proud of. When he came back down he was striking out with his front feet at the tarpaulin. He then spun and took off for about three strides and then screeched to a halt and turned and came back and stood next to me. Monty Roberts has demonstrated that horses are capable of conscious thought and has shown this at his demonstrations by the horse choosing to stay with a human as opposed to his natural flight instinct. This maybe what Wolfie had decided, but it felt more like he had came back for me to go with him, but he made it clear that whatever he perceived the tarpaulin as being and whatever predators he thought lurked beneath it, it was not safe for either me or him to be near and certainly not to be stepped upon. Wolfie acted in fight and then flight mode. I don't know if he was trying to kill whatever he thought the tarpaulin was to protect me. I don't really know what reaction I was expecting, I certainly didn't think he would just accept it and walk over it, but I didn't think he would react like that. Certainly some work to be done here and back to the very basics.